Skip to Content

A $4,000 3-D-printed home still has some big barriers to overcome

March 12, 2018

A startup called Icon says it can make a 650-square-foot house using 3-D printing in 12 to 24 hours.

A trial run: The first home constructed using Icon’s technology is being unveiled at SXSW in Austin, Texas, today. One of its founders, Jason Ballard, will be testing out the home by living in it.

The cost: Right now, a house built using the firm’s Vulcan 3-D printer costs $10,000. The company says it will be able to lower that to a mere $4,000.

But: These are big promises. People have been trying to make 3-D-printed houses for a while—we reported on one experiment back in 2012. But engineers keep running into roadblocks, like equipment failures or issues about how long walls should dry. Some obstacles are starting to be overcome, but plenty remain.

Next steps: The Verge says Icon plans to construct 100 homes in El Salvador in 2019. If it can actually do that on time and on budget, it will show that 3-D-printed homes aren’t just an experiment anymore. But that’s a big if.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

DeepMind’s cofounder: Generative AI is just a phase. What’s next is interactive AI.

“This is a profound moment in the history of technology,” says Mustafa Suleyman.

What to know about this autumn’s covid vaccines

New variants will pose a challenge, but early signs suggest the shots will still boost antibody responses.

Human-plus-AI solutions mitigate security threats

With the right human oversight, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence can help keep business and customer data secure

Next slide, please: A brief history of the corporate presentation

From million-dollar slide shows to Steve Jobs’s introduction of the iPhone, a bit of show business never hurt plain old business.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.